Is Direct Mail a Part of Your Church’s Communication Strategy?

The number of potential ways that church leaders can communicate with their people can be staggering at times. Email blasts, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your own website, billboards, flyers, postcards, smoke signals … pony express … list this goes on and on!

In the midst of all those channels I’m still a big believer in well done direct mail being an effective part of the mix of tools used to communicate to your people. According to a recent study done by the USPS 98 percent of people bring in their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77 percent sort through it immediately.  When was the last time your people sorted through all their emails?   How many social media status updates go unread simply because people weren’t online the moment you posted it?

In an increasingly “digital” world … old fashion direct mail has an increased value as a tool churches should leverage.  People have moved their communication to online channels so often it’s only bills arriving in their mailboxes. This creates an “urgency” for people to sort through the mail … and you get to insert the “positive message” of your church adjacent to the “negative message” of all those bills!  Context is a powerful way to focusing people on what you are saying!  Here are some more benefits of well executed direct mail being a part of your strategy:

  • Tangible // Your mailing takes up space in the homes of the people you’re sending it to.  How can you design it in such a way that it will linger for a while rather than just end up in trash? What “space” can you design the piece to occupy once it arrives?  Are you sending them a few invite cards for your next series and asking them to keep them in their car as a tool to invite friends? Is it a fridge magnet reminding your parents about the important dates in the student ministry?
  • Targeted // Your database tells you a lot about the people in your church.  Rather than just “broadcasting” the same message to everyone you can leverage that data to send different people different direct mail pieces.  You can send a letter to people who you know were in a small group last semester asking them if they will be attending again this coming semester while at the same time mailing people who aren’t in a group information on how to get plugged into one. Leverage the fact that you are focus your pieces to wide variety of audiences in your church.
  • Cost Effective // Every church leader is looking for ways to stretch their communication dollars farther. Start by sending a series of postcards to your people which are pennies to print and deliver.  In comparison to other forms of “advertising” this is an inexpensive way to get the message out.  The economies of scale are nice with direct mail as well … generally the more you print the less expensive each piece is to print and send!

Where have you seen direct mail used effectively in a church communications strategy?  I’d love to hear about it!

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Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Mr. Steven Finkill — 01/15/13 11:09 am

This is an interesting article. I do a lot of work on communication and this helped me think about direct mail from a different perspective. Good stuff!

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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